The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a sweet book that kept me turning the pages, anxious to get to the end. Unlike the last book I read, this one wasn't so predictable. I like that in a book.
In the Victorian era, the language of flowers was used to express emotions such as yellow roses for jealousy/infidelity, honeysuckle for devotion, and daffodil for new beginnings to name a few. The main character, Victoria, spent her childhood as an orphan and expresses her experiences in the world through her knowledge of flowers and their meaning.
Victoria's story is one of triump and heartbreak. It made me think about what it must be like to grow up without parents and how would I react to the world had I had her childhood. The book flowed so well that you just want to find out what happens for Victoria. I loved the education I got about flowers and their meanings. I was so fascinated I even purchased the companion book, A Victorian Flower Dictionary. It has all the flower meanings along with drawn images of each flower. It's a beautiful companion book and I'm so happy to have it!
I highly recommend The Language of Flowers whether you are the gardening type of couldn't care less about flowers. The plot will pique your interest regardless of your background with flowers. This was Vanessa Diffenbaugh's first novel. I can't wait to read other books she writes. I read in USA Today that she and her husband were foster parents and her character Victoria was inspired by a young lady she fostered who she couldn't reach emotionally even after having fostered her for over a year. She definitely is able to convey her personal experience through her character. I got a real feel for Victoria's emotional distance and walls she created.
On a side note, this book had me bawling my eyes out one morning when I found out the meaning of Cherry Blossoms. I mentioned how my mom passed away when I was 16. She loved Cherry Blossom trees. The last picture I have of her is standing next to the Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C., just three days before she died. My daughter has a huge Cherry Blossom tree on the wall in her bedroom. The definition of Cherry Blossoms plays a bit of a prominent role in the book so I don't want to give it away but let me just say that it had tremendous meaning to me and literally made me shut the book (actually it was turn off my iPad) and have a good cry. It just made so much sense and really spoke to me. It was as though my mom spoke to me. It was a real "ah-ha" moment.
Have you read this book? What did you think? I'd love to know!